December 27, 2008

Makeshift Burrito with Red Chard rice, Tempeh and Veggies


With the holiday season around, there must have been a lot of sweet stuff going around in the form of cookies and cakes at your home... here is a nice change.
You could put this burrito together with stuff you have on hand.

This is just another way to eat burritos. Veggie burritos are pretty bland from where I get them. So only way to have them like I want them was to make my own.
Stuffed them with home-made rice flavored with red chard (getting my greens that way)
And this was my first time using tempeh, I would have preferred baked tofu though.
Use any veggies you have on hand, a dollop of sour cream or avocado would finish it off nicely.

Makeshift Burrito with Red Chard rice, Tempeh and Veggies


Whole grain tortillas - 1 or 2 per person
Cooked brown rice - 3 cups
Red Chard - A bunch
Tempeh - A small packet (Cooked according to package instructions)
Cabbage, Carrots & Zucchini - As much as you want, roasted
Jalapenos - A few sliced
Salt - To taste
Pepper - To season
Olive oil - To roast veggies and for making rice



Clean and cut red chard. In a pan add oil on medium heat, add the greens along with stems (cut). Add salt and pepper and saute. No more flavors are needed, but you may
add mexican spice seasoning if you prefer, to the rice.


In a griddle, cook tortillas on both sides with a little oil.


To assemble, stack veggies, cooked tempeh, and the rice in the tortilla and roll as you would a burrito.
Wrap in paper/ foil and serve.
You are all set! There goes an easy way to get nutritious food into your tummy.


December 22, 2008

Breakfast Lentil crepes - Traditional Adai made easy


This recipe was requested by a co-blogger. And here it is!

Adai as we traditionally call it, is basically a mix of lentils and rice ground together to form a batter. And then formed into crepes on a griddle and cooked on both sides.

And what makes my method easier? Here is why...
Originally, rice is soaked along with the lentils and ground together, there are specific grinders that are used for this purpose.
Since I don't have the heavy duty grinder, I use the normal blender.
Now, here is the problem with using normal blenders... it might be too much stress on the machine to grind soaked rice, and also if you are using a very powerful blender, it produces heat (you can feel the contents warming up) which eventually cooks the batter even while it is grinding. Not good!

To avoid the problem, I used "Idli Rava" - Cream of Rice instead of the actual rice.
There is no need to grind this. The only grinding you will be doing is for the soaked lentils (which is relatively easy on the blender)
Also remember to add enough water, so the blender does not heat up.
(Detailed instructions below in the recipe)

I have used four different types of lentils for this recipe. All of them can be found in an Indian grocery store. Mung and Split chick peas (Channa dal) can be found in the bulk section of your regular grocery store (if it has one).
You may use whole or split Mung beans for this recipe. Both give a different taste and are both great. I personally like the whole green mung dal for this.

There is no need to ferment the final batter, you may proceed making crepes as it gets done. And not having to grind the rice saves on a lot of time and energy.

Breakfast Lentil crepes - Traditional Adai made easy


Idli Rava - 2 cups
Mung Dal - 1/4 cup
Urad Dal - 1/4 cup
Thur Dal - 1/4 cup
Channa Dal - 1/4 cup
Dried Red chillies - 4 (you may add more if you like)
Curry Leaves - 8-10
Hing/Asafoetida - A couple of pinches
Salt - To taste
Water - 4 cups (To mix with Idli Rava)


Wash and soak all the four varieties of dal with red chillies and curry leaves for at least 4-6 hours. I soak them overnight.

Next day, just before grinding the lentils together, mix the Idli Rava with 4 cups of water to form a batter (it will absorb the water when you let it sit while you grind the dals, and that is okay). There is no need to add more water.

Grind the lentils, chillies and curry leaves in a blender in batches. Add enough water to get the machine running. Grind till smooth.

Add it to the Idli rava that has already been mixed with water. Mix well.

Add Hing/Asafoetida and again mix thoroughly.

Cover with a lid and let it sit for a couple of hours. Or you can prepare crepes immediately if you are in a rush. Does not alter the taste very much, and both ways are great. The batter would look like this. Add water before preparing crepes just enough so that it resembles a pancake batter.


To prepare crepes... Check out this step-wise pictorial. The picture below is from my earlier post which I made for regular dosais, but "Adai" follows the same method.


You will need a smooth non-stick griddle on medium heat.
Step 1: Pour a small ladle of batter in the center, and spread out in circular motion till you get a thin layer. Drizzle oil.
Step 2: Flip over when the bottom side starts browning, and cook on other side.
Step 3: You may leave it on the griddle for a little longer to get crispier crepes, or take it off the heat as soon as it starts browning to get a softer crepe.
Step 4: For this particular dish, I would suggest softer crepes, as that is how it is traditionally prepared.

Variations include:
Grinding garlic and ginger along with the batter.
Adding cilantro and or onions just before making the crepes.

Enjoy with Chutney or Molagai podi (which is basically a mixture of chillies and lentils ground together, mixed with oil and dipped into)


December 20, 2008

Pumpkin and Carrot Fudge - Ouch, my fingers hurt!


My hands are wet and hurting as I type this, reason? Playing in and with snow without gloves on, nope! Not a good idea... but really couldn't resist! :)

Here goes one more of my own recipes, oh! the pleasure it gives me to create something new...
Why and how I came up with this is pretty simple, the pureed pumpkin and carrot (when cooked) share a similar flavor, slightly sweet and yet it has a earthy feel to it. And I thought why not marry those two together and make something sweet!
Carrots are widely used in Indian cooking especially in desserts, so I was pretty sure about how this was going to taste... Good!

I did write vaguely about the sugar measurement in this recipe, as the carrots in itself are pretty sweet, so I added little less than half a cup for this recipe. But I leave it completely up to your discretion to add more or less.
Normally I would have let the sugar melt and let it come to a soft candy stage and then go about adding the other ingredients, but since the amount of sugar used is pretty low, I had to follow a different method.
Anyway, who cares how I got there, it tastes good, and that is all what matters.

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Pumpkin and Carrot Fudge


Pumpkin puree (no sugar added) - 2 cups
Carrot - 2 cups (finely grated)
Non fat milk powder - 3-4 cups
Melted butter/Ghee - 2 tbsp
Sugar - To taste
Cardamom - 1/2 tsp
Nutmeg - Two pinches (grated)
Slivered Almonds - A little to garnish


In a heavy bottomed pan, or a good non stick pan, mix the pumpkin puree, sugar and carrot on medium heat. Cover and cook for about 30 min. Stir a couple of times in between.

Once all the water has evaporated and the carrot is cooked, start adding the milk powder.
Add milk powder a little at a time and keep stirring on low-medium heat. Add the melted butter.
Let it cook for about 45 min. Sirring every now and then is important. Add nutmeg and cardamom and mix.

Turn off heat and transfer onto a greased pan (which is couple of inches high) and spread evenly and press down with the back of a spoon.
Garnish with some slivered almonds on top, and again press them slightly down, or they will fall off the fudge.

Let it cook completely. Cut into desired shapes, bar, squares or diamonds and serve.
It is a fudge, so expect it to be semi-soft.


December 16, 2008

Spinach Potato Naan/Flatbread - Stove top method


Notice the difference in my pictures in this post? My image copyright appears smack in the middle of the pictures. I used to think it was not very aesthetic to put my copyright overlaying in the middle of my images. But now with the frequency of plagiarism I see around, I would rather compromise with the beauty of my pictures rather than make it eye candy and leave it out there in the open. Thanks Sangeeth for caring enough to make me understand how important this is. She did mention that adding the copyright at the corners would be too way too easy for people to crop it out and re-post (which makes perfect sense.)

Seriously, it is not worth making your blog, pictures, and post look nice and perfect (without proper precautions) when somebody else is going to be effortlessly lifting it right in front of your eyes.
Here are some good articles from Sangeeth and Cham on how to protect your blog and pictures. Read them, implement them if you care.

If you remember, I had done a Garlic and Red chilly Naan/Flatbread using the oven method. It was my first try and I am sure getting better at this.
Who needs an oven when you can make these in a jiffy with resources that you have on hand?

Here is another nutritious version using the stove top method.
Requested by a reader, I have tried to make a better illustration this time for those who really would like to try it out.
Points to note:
That tiny bit of potato adds a nice softness to the bread. So I would call that ingredient mandatory.
I used 100% stone ground Atta (Indian whole wheat flour, it does give best results for this type of bread.
The dough is a sticky one inititally when you start to put everything together, so please be mindful of the water that you add while kneading.
Roll the dough out thin (check in the illustration below), it does tend to puff up when you toss it on the hot pan.

Head out to restaurants for naan?... nah! I think mine worked like a charm.


Spinach Potato Naan/Flatbread - Stove top method


Atta/White Whole wheat flour - 3 1/2 cups
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Frozen Spinach - 2 cups (Thaw and squeeze out moisture completely)
Potato - 1/2 cup (Boiled and mashed)
Caraway Seeds - 2 tsp
Salt - To taste
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Olive oil - 3 tbsp
Yeast - 2 tsp
Warm water - 1/4 cup


Add yeast to warm water and let it rest for 10 min.

After the yeast has frothed, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. You may or may not have to add more water depending on the moisture content from the spinach and potato.

Add warm water and combine to form a nice loose dough. Knead for 15 min by hand on a floured surface. Dust with flour as and when needed during the kneading process.
The dough should look like this when you are done.


Cover and let it double in size, which would take anywhere from an hour to two. Mine took two hours. It should look like this.


Fold the dough over about 4-5 times.

Heat a non stick pan on medium-high heat.

Dust a board with flour and pinch out a ball and roll it out with the help of a rolling pin. (Spreading with hands does not work for me)
I divide my dough equally, they will rise a little as you make the rest, so knead each ball slightly right before you roll it.

The rolled out dough should be thin, as it tends to puff up on cooking, giving it a flatbread texture. You can see how thin I rolled it out.


Transfer the dough gently onto the pan and cook till you see bubbles start appearing.


At this point, I like to smear a wee bit of little oil/butter on the top side and then flip it over.

Cook on both sides till you get a nice brown color and the bread is cooked through.

It will continue to cook for a while after it comes off the pan, so let it rest for a few minutes.

Dab a little butter/spread on top, and serve warm.

I store them out for a couple of days without refrigeration. You may re-heat by wrapping them up in a paper towel and microwave them till slightly warm. Alternatively, you may wrap them in aluminum foil and warm in the oven.

Yields: Around 10 flatbreads


Some great events that I am sending this to:
Susan's Yeast Spotting
Sangeeth's Eat Healthy - During Pregnancy

December 13, 2008

Savory Semolina Kichdi with Vegetables - Mom's Best


This is for my brother and the recipe is from my mom.
My mom is one of the best, no... "the" best cook I have ever known. If cooking comes naturally to me, it is probably because of her. And her desserts!... they are to die for!
Especially now that I cook quite a bit (and get to eat just what I cook), I do miss her food a lot. I am a reasonable cook, but somehow cooking for oneself can be quite, Ahem... boring at times.

Kichdi is a pretty traditional Indian dish, and is basically a jazzed up version of the humble Upma. The fragrant spices and the array of vegetables kicks it up a notch.
Since this recipe calls for a variety of ingredients, some of which you may or may not be familiar with, I did a picture representation of the most important ingredients this time for easy understanding. (Check list in the recipe section below)

I made peanut chutney to go along with it, but really any kind of chutney goes well.

Rava/Semolina/Sooji varies from place to place and the water that it can absorb while it cooks also varies. So please adjust the water content accordingly. Check recipe for more info.

Off topic, I promised one of my readers a Naan/Flatbread recipe this week, a variation from the one I made earlier but had to put that on hold for this one. I will shortly post that one too. Sorry!

This kichdi has a pretty long ingredient list, so hang in there.


Savory Semolina Kichdi with Vegetables


Semolina/Rava/Sooji - 3 cups
Water - 4 cups (I used less water, since I do not like it to be gooey, but if you like a more binding kichdi, please add 1 cup or more of water, which would make it 5 cups)
Carrots - 1/4 cup diced
Peas - 1/4 cup
Beans - 1/4 cup cut into small pieces
Corn - 1/4 cup (optional, you may increase/decrease other veggies as you like)
Red onion - 2 cups diced
Tomatoes - 3/4 cup diced (I omitted this, since I do not like tomatoes in my kichdi)
Green chillies - 2 tbsp chopped
Ginger - 2 tbsp chopped
Garlic - 2 tbsp chopped
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon stick or powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - Two pinches
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Lemon juice - 2 tbsp
Cilantro/Coriander - A handful
Curry leaves - A few
Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp
Urad Dal - 1 tbsp
Channa Dal - 2 tbsp
Salt - To taste
Cashewnuts - A handful
Oil/Butter - 4 tbsp (I used Extra Virgin Olive oil)



Dry roast the semolina/rava till it is lightly toasted and set aside.

In a pot/pan (which has a lid for later use), heat the oil and add mustard seeds, let them splutter, add urad dal and channa dal and dry them on medium heat.

Add the cashews and saute well (You may roast them separately and add them at the end as garnish too, it remains crunchy that way, I kinda like mine blended into the dish). Take care not to burn them. Add cloves.

Then add the ginger, garlic, curry leaves, cinnamon, turmeric, green chillies, asafoetida, salt and pepper and roast.

Toss in the red onion and cook till lightly browned.

Now, mix the vegetables, tomatoes (if you like), turmeric and cook halfway. It will continue to cook after we add water. So do not over cook them now.

Add the water and cover and let it come to a boil.

Remove lid, reduce the heat to medium, add the semolina/rava slowly in a stream but keep mixing with your other hand continuously. Or else it will form clumps.

Cover immediately and let it cook on low-medium heat for 5 minutes.

Uncover, add the chopped cilantro, lemon juice and a wee bit of butter, mix well and serve.

Chutneys go great as a side for this dish. Get your pick here.


This dish goes to Sangeeth's Eat Healthy - During Pregnancy event

December 10, 2008

Low fat Almond and Oats Cookie - Eggless


It is amazing that the amount of different varieties of cookies I make, and yet this is my first post on my blog under "Cookies"!
Yay! This day marks the creation of my new label!

And how did I land up on this one? The last place I would look to find a cookie recipe...when my hand reaches the trash can to toss something, nope, it is not yet inside it :) That would be gross!

Just when I was throwing away a plastic bag which previously contatined oat flour. My eyes grew wide and my hands trembled with excitement!
Well, not exactly... I just had to stare hard enough to read the recipe by itself, it was that small !
Yep, found this treasure right there. Lesson learnt.
So the next time look out for those recipes on those packages. You are bound to find something that interests you.

The recipe was in original not a very healthy one, had butter and sugar enough to make me sick. But with a little adjustments, I was able to turn them into the best cookies I have ever tasted! And healthy too.
Trust me on this one okay? I don't give my approval nod that easily, and I promise delight to those of you who care to try it.
It is not that difficult, so what are you waiting for?

Low fat Almond and Oats Cookie - Eggless


Sifted oat flour - 1 1/4 cup (May substitute by grinding quick cooking oats, and sifting it if you dont have ready made oat flour on hand)
Almond meal - 1 cup (May substitute by grinding whole almonds into a powder)
Butter - 3-4 tbsp
Sugar - 4-5 tbsp (depending on your sweetness level)
Pure Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp


Preheat oven at 300 F.

Grease cookie sheet and set aside.

Using a hand mixer blend butter and sugar together until creamy (about 4 min)

Add the oat flour, vanilla extract and almond meal and mix with a rubber spatula until well combined.

Form into small balls and place on the cookie sheet. They spread out, so leave enough place between the cookie dough balls.


Bake for about 30 min. Or till slightly cracked and brown on top.

Remove from tray and let them cool. They will firm up on cooling.

You may roll them in more sugar if you want, but I doubt if you can ever keep away from them for that long! They are one of the best cookies ever!

Yields: 20 medium cookies. They are crunchy, not soft.

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Here is a lovely set of events I am sending these cookies to:

Vandana's Baking for Beginners
JZ's Santa's Holiday Challenge
Sharmi's Cookie Baking Event
Trupti's Winter Treat Event
Purva's Festive Food - Christmas
Happy Cook's Home Made Christmas Gifts Event
Sangeeth's Eat Healthy - Pregnancy
Susan's Christmas Cookies

December 6, 2008

Quesadilla with Leftover Veggies and Whole grain tortillas


What I eat as everyday food, is not just the breads, cakes and fancy stuff that I write about. So, here is one meal that you can quickly put together with just a few leftover and essential ingredients from your pantry and fridge. I used some leftover veggies from making eggs the previous days.

Quesadillas are one of my favorite Mexican foods that can be easily re created at home and is relatively healthier depending on what you decide to stuff in them.
This is one of the dishes where I like mine better than the restaurant served ones.

I have not given any measurements for the recipe, as it is really is upto you to add how much and whatever you want.
My most common problem with making quesadillas is overloading the veggies. Use lesser than you think you would need. That should do the trick.

And when buying re-fried beans (that normally come in cans), and if you are a vegetarian, check for the ingredient list at the back of the can. Sometimes they do add some kind of meat products/derivatives.
So in short, check for 100% vegetarian beans. Fat free is even better.

This is as easy as it gets.

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Quesadilla with Leftover Veggies and Whole grain tortillas


Whole grain tortillas - 2 (One folds into two, so really depends on how much you want)
Leftover veggies - I used Zucchini, Onions, Jalapenos, Cilantro, and Olives
Fat free re-fried beans - To spread
Jalapenos - A few sliced
Cilantro - Chopped
Part skim mozzarella cheese - Grated
Red chilly flakes, Pepper and Salt - As need be
Olive Oil - As need be


Heat a non stick griddle on medium heat.

Lay the tortilla and spread warmed re-fried beans. Sprinkle cheese, and layer the veggies on top of it.


Season with salt, pepper / red chilly flakes.

Top off with cilantro or any herb or your choice.

Folder over, and lay it on the hot greased griddle, and cook on both sides with a little bit of oil.

December 3, 2008

Sweet cinnamon monkey bread - A cinnamon roll wannabe


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The sweet smell of baked cinnamon rolls wafting through the air, many a times wondering how it could actually sweeten up the air it mingles with. The aroma and warmth of it just unbeatable.
Sigh! But those cinnamon rolls are loaded with butter and sugar that makes it exclusive, isn't it? Oh well, at least the icing that goes on top of it. Without the icing, it is just makes a mass of swirled dough!

This recipe fuses two of my favorite things, bread and those sinful cinnamon rolls. I did come up with this just because I couldn't resist the idea of bringing those two in one healthful dish and also because I just adore the spice called Cinnamon.
In fact, it is such a versatile spice, used in both savory and sweets dishes. But again, to best preserve its aroma and flavor, I always store a good quality cinnamon powder and sticks in the freezer.

The name "monkey bread", because it is basically a pull apart bread, that comes off in little individual rolls. They are usually single layered, but I stacked them on top to give it that bee hive effect.
You may also slice them, toast it, and slather a little of some good spread mixed with honey and "wow" yourself! :)

My recipe calls for 1/4 cup of cinnamon and sugar mixed together, but this actually does not knead that much. It is just the minimum I could come up with so that I can acutally roll the dough in. You will have a lot of leftover which you may use later.
So people who are trying to stay away from sugar... try not be intimidated by this one.

Sweet cinnamon monkey bread


White Whole wheat flour - 3 cups
Whole wheat pastry flour - 1 cup
Yeast - 2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
Warm water - 1/4 cup
Salt - To taste
Water - To knead
Cinnamon + Sugar - 1/4 cup (Adjust the concentration of cinnamon as need be)


Mix yeast, and 1 tsp of sugar with warm water. Let it activate for about 10 min.

Meanwhile mix the flour and salt together. Add it to the yeast mixture and knead along with salt and more water.

Knead till it forms a smooth ball. That should be about 15 min. The more you knead, the better rise you will get.

before rise

Cover and let it sit for about 2 hours, till it doubles.

after rise

Plop it over onto a floured surface and fold over a few times.

Roll them into balls and coat each one with cinnamon sugar and arrange on the baking pan of any shape you prefer. They will expand, so space in between them in okay.


Cover and let it rise for about an hour or two.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Bake for about 40 min or until golden brown on top and the cinnamon sugar gives it a nice color.

Rest for about an hour outside the oven.

You could either pull them apart or slice them to serve.


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